Scots trial of TAN system sees licensing in disarray
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• by Miles Brignall The Scottish Traffic Area Office (TAO) has admitted to huge problems dealing with hauliers' enquiries since it introduced the new Traffic Area Network (TAN) computer system. Trials of the TAN system, which has needed millions of pounds and several years to develop, were expected to fully computerise licensing operations in Scotland. However, its implementation there has led to a huge backlog of applications and variations—the July deadline for rolling out the system in the rest of the UK will be missed.
One Scottish haulier says she sent in an application to vary the vehicles on her licence more than four weeks ago. She is still awaiting confirmation of the apphcation and has been told that the Traffic Area Office doesn't have time to track it down due to a backlog of paperwork dating back to mid-May. "I've been up before Michael Betts and, believe me, he would not tolerate an excuse like that from a haulier," she says. "We'd be out on our ear and he'd want to know why we hadn't run two systems alongside each other while the changes were being made."
A spokesman for the Scottish TAO admits that there have been problems: "We accept that operators have not been receiving the normal service from this office as we have had technical problems introducing the new system. We have now brought in extra staff and things will be returning to normal in the near future." The man responsible for introducing the computer system across the whole network, Bill Buckley, is reassuring hauliers in other parts of the country that the delays in Scotland will not be replicated at other offices.
"Whenever you introduce a new system there are always teething problems, which is why we have trialled it at one office," he says. "We have had particular problems with the printers but these have now been sorted out. We are planning to roll it out to the other offices, but only once it is working properly in Scotland."
The system's successful introduction across the TAO network is considered central to future enforcement, particularly in terms of the impounding of unlicensed trucks. TAN was seen as a prerequisite to impounding, but the VI claims it can start without it if necessary.
NI See Consent, page 6.